Saving Mt. Gap: Wardynski Refuses To Show His Work

W at mt gap.

At the Mt. Gap Merger meeting, Dr. Wardynski did something rather astonishing. Like a student who cheats on his math quiz, he refused to show his work.

As most of us learned in about the second grade, when you’re solving a math problem, it is crucial that you also show your work. It allows people to understand one another. If you know how to solve a problem, and if you’re showing me how to do it, it isn’t helpful to simply jump directly to the solution. Instead, if you allow me to follow your work, step-by-step, I too will learn what you know.

And if we both know the same thing, in all likelihood, we’ll arrive at the same solution.

In other words, showing your work is a great way to avoid misunderstanding, needless arguments, and war.

Showing your work is education, and education when done properly leads to understanding and consensus.

Dr. Wardynski and the Huntsville City Board of Education do not care about consensus, understanding, nor education as our “top educator” is steadfastly refusing to show his work concerning his justifications for closing Mt. Gap Elementary and Mt. Gap Middle by merging them together.

On Tuesday, March 13th during the Merger meeting, Dr. Wardynski presented a slide show for the first hour of the approximately 90 minutes meeting. This slide show contained an overview of his plans and ideas for Huntsville City Schools and eventually the slides offered some “data” directly related to Mt. Gap and her performance on his beloved STAR Enterprise Standardized Test. It contained several slides that were both too dim and blurry to easily see during the meeting. (Mt. Gap clearly needs a better projector, but it certainly served Wardynski’s purposes that night.)

About halfway through the meeting, Dr. Wardynski was asked by a person present at the meeting if he was planning to post these slide on a web site somewhere so that people could review them later.

Here’s how he responded to this request:


No, I prepared these tonight for your meeting. So, and at the first board meeting in April, we’re going to have a lot more of this kind of information, and it will be based on what we call benchmark three, our third assessment. This was based on benchmark one and benchmark two. The slides that we will show to the public on the website will be benchmark two and benchmark three. So this is just to give you a taste of where we’re going. It’s very preliminary. The work we’ll show you in April will be much more detailed.

Dr. Wardynski refused to show his work in a way that was accessible to the public.

I really had a hard time believing what I heard. Here was our superintendent, a public employee, directly refusing a specific request from the public, from his boss and employer.

What’s the word for refusing a specific and direct request from your boss?

Oh yeah, insubordination.

Since this didn’t seem like something that Dr. Wardynski would do, I decided to write him to ask if I could get a copy of the slide show.

I mean, it’s just a simple slide show that he’s likely already shown to the public three times at the Whitesburg merger meeting as well as at the Chapman merger meeting. What could possibly be his thinking in risking insubordination over a public slide show, put together with public funds, containing public data?

On Wednesday, March 14th, I sent Dr. Wardynski an email requesting a copy of this public slide show.

I received no response.

On March 20th, I sent Dr. Wardynski another email requesting a copy of this public slide show. This time I sent the request to Dr. Wardynski and the entire Board of Education as well. Dr. Robinson had suggested to me that perhaps the reason he hadn’t responded to my first email was that the switch over to a “cloud based” email service from TekLinks that the board had approved on Saturday, February 25th meeting was resulting in emails being lost.

When I sent the request to the entire board, Dr. Robinson, to her credit, decided to respond, even though Dr. Wardynski was still refusing to do so.

Dr. Robinson said that she would forward my request to Dr. Wardynski; however, he still refused to respond.

This is truly difficult to understand. In addition to being insubordinate, he is also directly violating School Board Policy 102-1 “Access To Information.” This policy states:

The public shall have the right to any information concerning the Huntsville Public Schools except that which disclosure violates the right of privacy of any employee, student, or person or compromises the Board of Education’s ability to properly protect public interest. Decisions regarding the release of information that is compromising in nature rests with the Board of Education.

Information that is in printed or published form shall be made available upon request. Information or extracts from original documents shall be reproduced upon request and the cost of reproduction charged to the requester.

The only exception allowed to this public right is when “disclosure violates the right of privacy of any employee, student, or person or compromises the Board of Education’s ability to protect public interest.”

Exactly how can releasing a slide show that was shown to a group of about a hundred, parents, children, and employees violate or compromise anything? If it did, then Dr. Wardynski should never have displayed the information to begin with.

So, Dr. Wardynski, by refusing to release this information that has been requested four separate times, has violated Huntsville City School Board Policy.

And the Board of Education, whom I have informed of this request, has been silent about this violation of their own policy.

Would the Board be silent if someone outside of Wardynski’s inner circle violated board policy? Would the Board be silent if a teacher violated board policy?

The clear answer to that is no, no, and no.

So why does Dr. Wardynski get a free pass?

You know, I honestly don’t care if Wardynski violates board policy. That really isn’t the issue or the problem. The problem is that the “top educator” of our district is specifically and intentionally refuses to educate. As I explained to Dr. Robinson in an email exchange about this issue on March 20th, Dr. Wardynski used that public slide show to support his arguments, thin though they were, to merge the two schools into one. By refusing to show his work, Dr. Wardynski, Dr. Robinson and the entire Board of Education are refusing to engage in one of the oldest and most important of educational principles: Where there is confusion and misunderstanding, a teacher attempts to explain and correct the misunderstanding.

By refusing to show their work, none of these people, Wardynski, Robinson, Blair, Birney, McCaulley, or even Morrison, deserve the title of educator.

And just like in the second grade when a student refuses to show his work, he gets no credit for getting the right solution, Dr. Wardynski deserves no credit and no trust for his insubordinate refusal either.


There’s an article about what happens to your school district when it is invaded by “The Broad Virus” making the rounds this week. It’s an excellent article that I’ve recommended before and that I still highly recommend.

Number two, on the list of identifiable symptoms for “How to Tell if Your District is Infected by the Broad Virus” is as follows:

Even top-performing schools, alternative schools, schools for the gifted, are inexplicably and suddenly targeted for closure or mergers.

The first step in getting better is to realize that you’re actually sick. Huntsville City Schools is sick and infected. And our Board Members are the carriers.


3 responses

  1. I think it’s obvious that our Board policies carry no weight, because our board doesn’t even take them seriously. Years ago, our local media fought hard for the “Sunshine Law.” Unfortunately, I haven’t heard a peep out of any of them about this.

    • The Alabama Open Meetings Act allows for a civil fine of $1,000.00 or up to half of the public employee’s salary, which ever is less.
      To win, a plaintiff must show that the defendants “disregarded the requirements and provisions” of the act. If the case is filed within 21 days of the meeting, the court “may” invalidate the actions taken during that meeting. (Since no action was taken during this meeting, nothing can be invalidated.) Oh, and the state is required to pay for the legal costs of the defendants. So, bringing a case will cost the public twice. Once to hire a lawyer and again in the taxes to pay for the defendant’s legal defense.

      In other words, the Alabama Open Meetings Act sounds good on paper but has no teeth.

      It would be nice if the press would publicize the issue a bit more rather than running puff pieces as they did on Thursday, though.

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